The Left at War

Overview

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 and Bush’s belligerent response fractured the American left—partly by putting pressure on little-noticed fissures that had appeared a decade earlier.

In a masterful survey of the post-9/11 landscape, renowned scholar Michael Bérubé revisits and reinterprets the major intellectual debates and key players of the last two decades, covering the terrain of left debates in the United States over foreign policy from the Balkans to 9/11 to Iraq, and over ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (7) from $16.99   
  • New (4) from $18.90   
  • Used (3) from $16.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 and Bush’s belligerent response fractured the American left—partly by putting pressure on little-noticed fissures that had appeared a decade earlier.

In a masterful survey of the post-9/11 landscape, renowned scholar Michael Bérubé revisits and reinterprets the major intellectual debates and key players of the last two decades, covering the terrain of left debates in the United States over foreign policy from the Balkans to 9/11 to Iraq, and over domestic policy from the culture wars of the 1990s to the question of what (if anything) is the matter with Kansas.

The Left at War brings the history of cultural studies to bear on the present crisis—a history now trivialized to the point at which few left intellectuals have any sense that merely "cultural" studies could have something substantial to offer to the world of international relations, debates over sovereignty and humanitarian intervention, matters of war and peace. The surprising results of Bérubé’s arguments reveal an American left that is overly fond of a form of "countercultural" politics in which popular success is understood as a sign of political failure and political marginality is understood as a sign of moral virtue. The Left at War insists that, in contrast to American countercultural traditions, the geopolitical history of cultural studies has much to teach us about internationalism—for "in order to think globally, we need to think culturally, and in order to understand cultural conflict, we need to think globally." At a time when America finds itself at a critical crossroads, The Left at War is an indispensable guide to the divisions that have created a left at war with itself.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Bérubé is the kind of critic, and the kind of advocate, that the Left desperately needs. I sometimes disagree with him, and then I argue with him in my head. I strongly recommend this practice: read him, learn from him, argue with him. It is a wonderfully bracing experience.”
-Michael Walzer,editor, Dissent Magazine

“Bérubé’s new book delivers an incredibly timely message of tough love to the American Left. On issue after issue—from Afghanistan to Iraq to the domestic front—he separates progressive myth from progressive reality. In the process he distinguishes good reasoning from bad among the major political writers of the last generation and gives us a fresh agenda for future work.”
-Cary Nelson,University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

“Indefatigably clear-minded and relentlessly researched, Bérubé’s The Left at War offers an invaluable excavation of just what has gone wrong, and occasionally right, with the academic/intellectual left in America. Anyone concerned with its future will be relying on this work for many years to come.”

-Eric Alterman,author of Why We’re Liberals

“A rigorous, hard-hitting, and impressively detailed critique and account of the United States left during wartime—and at war with itself. It is far and away the most thoroughly reasoned and researched brief for a middle way between a predictably anti-imperialist left and a revoltingly hawkish liberalism, and in this it is immensely useful both as a guide to recent debates and as a sort of internationalist handbook. Rousing, engrossing, principled, and brave.”
-Eric Lott,author of The Disappearing Liberal Intellectual

“The most important book I have read in the past fiver years.”

-John McGowan,

Publishers Weekly
Fresh off the 2008 election and anticipating an ascendancy of leftist thought and political success, Bérubé (Rhetorical Occasions), cultural studies and literature professor at Pennsylvania State University, provides robust intellectual arguments for how to reshape leftist thought into a powerful, constructive and measurably successful political philosophy—and how to mitigate the damage caused by the “Manichean” left: notably Chomsky and other members of the hard left whom he disparagingly describes as ready to sympathize with “any 'anti-imperialist' who comes along to challenge the Western powers, from Milosevic to Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.” He provides an assessment of Chomsky's appeal and a balanced critique of Chomsky's failings, juxtaposing him with Stuart Hall, who brings what Bérubé believes is the necessary nuance to leftist thinking. Bérubé forthrightly identifies himself as a social democratic leftist, and his effort not only identifies left-wing excesses and elevates its more viable and strategically sound currents, but puts critical thinking back into vogue on both sides of the political spectrum. (Nov.)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814799857
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2011
  • Pages: 349
  • Sales rank: 1,181,740
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Bérubé is Paterno Family Professor in Literature at Pennsylvania State University, and the author of several books, including What’s Liberal about the Liberal Arts, The Employment of English, and Life As We Know It, which was a New York Times notable book and NPR book of the year. He is general editor of NYU Press’s Cultural Front series, has contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers, and writes a popular blog, American Airspace, at michaelberube.com.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction: On Time 1

1 Nowhere Left to Go 9

2 Root Causes 41

3 Iraq: The Hard Road to Debacle 97

4 Cultural Studies and Political Crisis 153

5 What Is This "Cultural" in Cultural Studies? 209

Conclusion: Equality and Freedom 249

Notes 255

Works Cited 293

Index 315

About the Author 341

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)